I found this depiction of memories to be very intriguing especially, as the article points out, the pictures vary from what our own interpretations of these asylums tend to be, which demonstrates how our perception and reality can differ greatly when we are disassociated from a scenario. These photos also act as a preservation of the way the mental health system once was in comparison to what it is now.
Payne’s photos reveal a world surprisingly suffused with color — a room full of rust-colored urns filled with the ashes of long-dead patients, a long hallway with brilliant teal paint peeling from the walls, a wall of multicolored toothbrushes still hanging on their hooks.
It’s that photo in particular, taken at the old Hudson River State Hospital in New York, that still confounds Payne:
“For some reason, everyone left their toothbrushes there,” he tells Laura Sullivan, guest host of weekends on All Things Considered. “The fact that this little box of toothbrushes had survived on the wall while the rooms around it were crumbling was incredible.”